CdV's Field Notes, 5/8/2019: Ode to a Flood

I’ve been thinking a lot about floodplains lately. Most creeks and rivers in the West are channelized to one degree or another: squeezed into a narrow ditch so that they, and the rich benches where they used to deposit their silt, can be used more efficiently for agriculture. Channelization has had major effects on the riparian systems of the West, which evolved to rely on frequent flood disturbance to create channel complexity and redistribute nutrients. You can see this dynamic at work in the photo at right: here, riparian vegetation (evolved to handle floods) kept the water somewhat contained. The trees and shrubs, meanwhile, benefit from new silt, new seedbeds, new minerals . Floodplains

Greater Hells Canyon Council

1-541-963-3950

www.hellscanyon.org

EIN: 93-0999442

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La Grande, OR  97850 

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